by Anwen Hughes, Vice Chairman, FUW Younger Voice for Farming Committee
At the age of 25 I took over the family farm through the loss of my father. My father had never done much with the Union apart from having help filling in the farming entitlements and the insurance.
When I took over the farm there were many new schemes that you could apply for and the single farm payment scheme was coming into place. I attended an open meeting regarding the SPF with the Union and it helped me to prepare our business for the future. It made me realise that there was more I could learn from the Union about the future of our business and also the future of my young family at the time.
But most importantly, I got to have my voice heard when it came to Government agricultural consultations and over the years I have had the chance to meet civil servants and politicians to help the FUW lobby for our industry.
Some of you might say “what’s the point in answering these consultations”, “I can’t afford to lose a few hours of work”, or maybe you have something better that you wish to do than sit in a room to discuss the policies that will come in – some may say that the Minister has already made her mind up to bring in certain legislation anyway, right?
What I have learnt over the many years of being a county member, a member of the Education and training committee and also my involvement with the Younger Voice for Farming committee, is that our voices
count. this is our future, but also – we help to determine the future of the next generation.
With Brexit and the ending of the SPF and the Government looking more to the environmental side of schemes, it is up to us the younger members of the Union to join forces and to have our voices heard – to shape those policies and give direction from the grassroots level that the Union prides itself on. We must be louder and smarter than ever and what better way than to do this than in a committee of young, like minded members – with the backing of a top team?
there are many benefits to being a part of a committee, for example, I have always had a heads up about any future schemes, giving me more time to prepare our business for the future. Look at the potential NVZ regs coming in – by being part of the machine that is the FUW, we had information in greater detail and possibly earlier than others and have adapted our business ahead of the regulations being enforced.
So I ask you – what are you waiting for? If you are not involved with a committee, locally or as part of the FUW’s standing committees – join us! If you don’t tell us what you want us to fight for, and help us achieve the many things we have the potential to do – then how can we be better than we were yesterday? Your Union needs you now as much you need them.